Check out the five things to take away from the NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball matches this weekend.
Kick-save point propels UCLA into first — No. 2/3 UCLA extended its winning streak to eight matches and moved into a tied for first place in the MPSF with a sweep against No. 4/5 Long Beach State on Saturday. Setter Hagen Smith in the victory made possibly the play of the year with a kick-save dig that turned into a kill. In addition, outside attacker Jake Arnitz finished with a match-high 16 kills against the 49ers.
Ohio State alone atop MIVA — Outside attacker Nicolas Szerszen had both a match-high 14 kills and four aces to help No. 1/2 Ohio State on the road defeat No. 9/8 Ball State in four games on Friday. With this victory and a sweep against IPFW on Saturday, the Buckeyes are in sole possession of first place in the MIVA and have a one-match lead on the second-place Cardinals.
St. Francis with another upset — St. Francis went on a 4-1 run to close out the decisive fifth game and beat No. 12 Loyola in a non-conference match Friday. This was the Red Flashes’ fourth victory against a nationally ranked team this season and came one week after it upset No. 10/10 Penn State for the first time its program history.
Logjam remains in MPSF title race — Four teams started the week tied for first place in the MPSF and the weekend concluded with UCLA, No. 3/1 BYU and No. 5/4 Stanford all still tied for first place. All three of those teams won two conference matches last week. Stanford and BYU during the weekend also clinched home court advantage for the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals. With two weeks remaining in the regular season, BYU and UCLA will play each other in a two-match series beginning on Friday.
Hawai’i clinches postseason berth — No. 8/9 Hawai’i fought off a match-point and rallied from a two-game deficit to beat No. 14 UC Irvine in five games on Saturday and clinch a MPSF Tournament berth. The Rainbow Warriors swept the weekend series against the Anteaters winning both matches in five games. Freshman setter Joe Worsley guided the Hawai’i offense to a .475 attack percentage in the series finale and opposite Stijn van Tilburg led all players with a season-high 27 kills.